Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada approves lifting of parliamentary immunity

Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada has voted in favour of bill No. 7203 amending Article 80 of the Constitution of Ukraine, which envisages lifting parliamentary immunity from 2020, Interfax Ukraine reports.

373 MPs backed the decision at a plenary session of parliament on Tuesday.

The bill provides for the abolition of the provisions that a member of parliament cannot be detained, arrested or prosecuted without the consent of their colleagues. However, the provision that the MPs are not legally liable for the results of their votes or statements in the Rada (except for libel) still remains in the Constitution.

Lifting parliamentary immunity was one of the fundamental pre-election promises of Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky and the Servant of the People party.

Earlier, Zelensky submitted a bill to the Verkhovna Rada that extends the lustration law to Petro Poroshenko and all the representatives of the authorities that headed the country from 2014 to 2019.

The previous lustration was held after Euromaidan and concerned officials from the time of Viktor Yanukovych’s leadership. According to the new draft law, the lustration should be extended to persons who held positions from February 23, 2014 to May 19, 2019 and who did not resign during this period of time. The new lustration may include also ministers, heads of law enforcement agencies, MPs, etc.

Poroshenko said that Volodydmyr Zelensky’s initiative to lustrate all those who were in power from 2014 to 2019 was fantastic and was proof of ‘pro-Russian revanchism’. According to the press service of the European Solidarity Party, Poroshenko believes that in this way the new government is going to make room for the ‘fifth column’. According to the former president, ‘patriotic and effective politicians will be replaced by puppets who will carry out the Kremlin’s orders’.

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